A new digital legal aid system, set to be rolled out nationally in October, has been branded 'unfit for it's required purpose in it's current state' by the chair of family group Resolution at their recent annual conference.
The system was piloted in the north-east of England two years ago and is now set to become a compulsory step in the application process for civil legal aid in a matter of months.
Resolution chair Jo Edwards has been damning in her view of the new system. Stating it had been riddled with problems since it's introduction, she described the 'ill-fated project' as 'nothing short of a national scandal'.
Edwards said users would be unable to keep a record of their submissions with the current system and that it was so slow, it could take up to three times as long to navigate through than the current paper process.
The Legal Aid Agency introduced the new system as a digital means through which civil legal aid applications could be submitted.
A spokesperson for the agency said: 'We deliberately introduced a long lead-in before the system becomes mandatory to give firms time to prepare and train staff. We have worked closely with providers and have enhanced the system following feedback.'
The spokesperson added that continuous enhancements would also be made following the system's initial introduction.
Users could not keep a record of what they had submitted and that the system was so slow it could take three times as long as the paper process.